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Legacies: Collecting America's History at the Smithsonian, by Steven Lubar and Kathleen M. Kendrick
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Henry Clay's straw hat, about 1840sHenry Clay's straw hat, about 1840s

Although defeated five times in his bid for the presidency, Clay achieved lasting fame for his service as U.S. representative and senator from Kentucky, speaker of the house, and secretary of state. Known as "the Great Compromiser," Clay helped formulate legislation, including the Compromise of 1850, intended to moderate sectional conflicts and prevent civil war. In 1926 the Smithsonian added Clay's straw hat to its growing collection of artifacts associated with distinguished political figures.

See also: Hats

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